The U.S. Forest Service says it has done a lot more forest thinning to protect rural homes from wildfire than a study by outside scientists indicates – though it still falls short of the goal set by Congress.
National Fire Director Tom Harbour said Friday that by its count 43 percent of the 10.8 million acres treated by federal agencies in recent years was in and around communities threatened by wildfire.
A study published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claimed just 11 percent of fuel-reduction projects were in those areas.
Congress has set a goal of 50 percent.
University of Colorado fire ecologist Tania Schoennagel (SHONE-nah-gel), lead author of the study, says different definitions in the analyses could account for the differences.